Tuesday, November 22, 2005

UCLA vs. Memphis - Preview

By Bruin Basketball Report

The 05-06 UCLA squad gets their first chance in the national spotlight when they face the Memphis Tigers in the semifinal round of the NIT Season Tip-off tournament on Wednesday.

Memphis ran Alabama off their own home court in a second round game.

The Tigers applied a relentless 98 foot court press on 'Bama, and while Memphis had 10 pair of athletic legs to run the press for the full 40 minutes, the Tide whithered under the pressure due to the fact they had only one true ballhandler on the floor.

Note to the other SEC teams: press 'Bama until they drop...

Alabama head coach, Brian Gottfried, did a horrible job coaching. Alabama is obviously not a running team, yet after repeated hurried shots and turnovers by his players, instead of Gottfried calling time-outs to have his kids slow the pace down- he allowed them to play at a frenetic pace and right into the hands of Memphis.

How will the Memphis press do against UCLA? Expect a track meet! More importantly, expect UCLA to handle the press expertly.

The Bruins suit up four regulars who have played point guard during their careers at UCLA: Jordan Farmar, Darren Collison, Cedric Bozeman, and Arron Afflalo. This depth will allow the Bruins to easily break the Tiger press and then to immediately attack the basket for easy 2 on 1 scoring opportunities.

Also, if the Tiger press does happen to cause the Bruins to rush into bad shots or create turnovers - expect UCLA coach Howland to step in with a solution before the game gets out of hand.

Keys to a Bruins victory over Memphis:

1. Handle the press and minimize turnovers.

2. Punish the Memphis defense by attacking the hoop for easy scores after breaking the press

3. Memphis is not a good perimeter shooting team. Shut down Rodney Carney, the Tigers only consistent outside threat, with either Cedric Bozeman or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

4. Play own aggressive and pressure defense to create easy scores.

Sophomore star Jordan Farmar and senior Michael Fey, both who were injured and sat out Saturday's Delaware game, are expected to play against Memphis.

If UCLA beats Memphis then the stage only gets bigger, as the winner of their game gets to play the winner of the other semifinal game - #1Duke vs. Drexel - in the final.



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